Messi's $84m income highlighted by United Nations in attack on women footballers' pay

Lionel Messi Alex Morgan split
The yearly earnings of the Argentine forward have been used to emphasise the pay gap between sexes

UN Women, an entity of the United Nations, has highlighted the yearly earnings of Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi as an example in their campaign to reduce the wage gap between men and women in sport.

The intergovernmental organisation utilised their Facebook page to highlight the US$84 million-a-year income from his salary, bonuses, commercial deals and other payments being nearly double of the combined annual wage ($42.6m) of the 1,693 women footballers in the top seven leagues.

"One male soccer player makes almost double the combined salaries of all players in the top seven women's soccer leagues," the UN post read. 

"During the Women's World Cup 2019, join UN Women in demanding equal pay for women in sport."

Goal 50 Revealed: The best 50 players in the world

Pay discrimination has been a hot topic during the Women's World Cup in France, with 28 U.S. women's national team players currently embroiled in a lawsuit with U.S. Soccer over wage issues.

The lawsuit, which was filed in March, is being led by current USWNT stars Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Carli Lloyd and Becky Sauerbrunn.

They are seeking financial damages and a stop to "discriminatory practices" allegedly used by the US football governing body in regards to salaries.

U.S. Soccer, which disputes the charges of gender discrimination, has agreed to a mediation hearing with the aggrieved players that is scheduled to be held at the conclusion of the World Cup.

The USWNT are into the quarter-finals of the tournament and will face hosts France in Paris on June 28, with the winner to face England or Norway women in the semi-finals.